Pastor's Sunday School Blog
Sunday School Lesson
“The Spirit of Truth and Generosity”
December 17, 2017
A characteristic of the early church was a genuine concern for one another. The early believer was generous, concerned about the needs of others… what is mine, is yours. This attitude can only exist where the focus is eternal rather than temporal.
This practice suggests an internal change which was manifested outwardly.
While I do not suggest that believers sell their possessions and bring the proceeds to the local church for equal distribution, I do believe that the practice of mutual concern and care for the needs of others is a New Testament principle that should be practiced.
Unity brings an awareness of other’s needs, and a desire to meet those needs.
Giving goes beyond the act to the attitude. A believer’s giving is a self-sacrifice for the benefit of another; a sacrifice that flows out of love for the other, out of love for the Lord.
Giving is not a means to recognition, but rather, an opportunity to serve.
Ananias and Sapphira were not judged because they held back part of the price for themselves, but because the lied about what they had given for personal recognition.
The harsh judgment against Ananias and Sapphira was a demonstration of God’s holiness and God’s demand for holiness by those who follow Him, the Church. What God did served as a warning to others.
The Spirit strengthens the church in unity and generosity (Acts 4:32-35).
Unity acknowledges what I have is not mine, but Gods to be used as He determines.
How is this passage to be applied to the church today?
The early believer’s unity and mutual concern for one another gave testimony to the resurrection power of Christ, and the grace of God. A church is known for what it does.
God’s power and grace enable us to do what we would not ordinarily do.
The church is to be the hub of God’s charity.
The Spirit distinguishes between generous and greedy giving (Acts 4:36-5:2).
Barnabas (the encourager), sold land (not told if this was all his land) and gave the proceeds to the apostle’s for the purpose of distribution among the needy (at this time many believers had lost their livelihood as a result of their faith).
Ananias and Sapphira sold some of their property and brought the proceeds to the apostles for distribution. What was the difference between what Barnabas did and what they did? (Barnabas’ actions was motivated by love for the Lord, while Ananias and Sapphira were motivated by selfishness and greed. They wanted the recognition without the sacrifice.
The Spirit judges and purifies the church (Acts 5:3-11).
Judgment could have been avoided is the couple had brought the money and presented it as a part of their profits from the sale.
Notice Peter’s association of Satan’s activity with what Ananias did.
Also, note that what they did was not just simply an act of deception, but a lie to the Holy Spirit.
The judgment BY GOD was necessary for the purity and witness of the church. God’s holiness was on trial.
Compare what happened to Ananias and Sapphira to the sin of Achan (Joshua 7:1-26).
God’s judgment brought fear among the people.
Theological Theme: God will not allow sin in the church to prevent the expansion of the Gospel.
Christological/Christ Connection: Jesus is the model, the example of self-sacrifice in order to meet the needs of others (See Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-8).
Missional Application: God calls us to share with others as a reflection of His love.